Month in a Minute: Important Headlines from the Indian Solar Industry in July 2018

DISCOM ratings, spot power prices, REC trading and other Important headlines from India’s solar and other renewable industries in July 2018:

According to the Central Electricity Authority’s (CEA) latest Load Generation Balance Report (LGBR), India is likely to have a peak surplus of 2.5 percent and an energy surplus of 4.6 percent.  The report studies the anticipated power supply position for financial year (FY) 2018-19.

Sungrow, a global inverter and energy storage system (ESS) solutions supplier for renewables, inaugurated its solar inverter manufacturing unit in Bangalore. The facility will have 3 GW capacity and is spread over an area of three acres.

Last year, a total of 96,376 solar pumps were sanctioned in various states for both irrigation and drinking water purposes, and 10 percent of the pumps were sanctioned to the states, per a government announcement.

Solar renewable energy certificate (REC) trading surged in July 2018, whereas non-solar REC trading continued to decline. 1,382,632 solar RECs were traded in July 2018. This was 790,231 more than the 592,401 solar RECs traded in the previous month of June 2018. All solar RECs traded at a price of ₹1,000 (~$14.50).

The MNRE has written to the Karnataka government expressing its concern over delays in granting land approval for various solar projects, affecting the country’s renewable growth trajectory.

India has gradually strengthened its position as an electricity exporting nation. India is now exporting power to Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar. “India is currently supplying around 660 MW of power to Bangladesh and it will increase by 840 MW after completion of additional transmission links,” the minister for Power, R.K. Singh said in Lok Sabha.

The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), an autonomous institution under MNRE, installed a remote sensing instrument- LiDAR for assessment of offshore wind resources in the Gulf of Khambat, off the Gujarat Coast.

According to the Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), the spot power price stood at ₹3.73 (~$0.054)/kWh in June 2018,  more than 20 percent lower than the ₹4.67/kWh spot price recorded in May 2018.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, “In the period of April to June 2018, Indian solar installations totaled ~1.4 GW (preliminary numbers). Cumulative solar installations at the end of June 2018 reached 24.4 GW, representing a 7.03 percent of the total power capacity in India.” The share of solar capacity grew from 4.41 percent as of June 2017 to 7.03 percent as of June 2018.

The Ministry of Power (MoP) recently released its sixth annual integrated ratings for state distribution utilities. Out of the 41 utilities that were covered in the report, five utilities received the highest grade of ‘A+’. Four of these utilities are from Gujarat. The other DISCOM with an A+ rating is from Uttarakhand.

According to Mercom Capital Group’s newly released Q2 2018 Solar Funding and M&A Report, in the first half (1H) of 2018, total corporate funding, including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing rose to $5.3 billion, compared to the $4.6 billion raised in 1H 2017. This implies a 15 percent increase year-over-year (YoY).

The Ministry of Power is thinking of providing incentives to distribution companies (DISCOMs) and its employees who meet the household electrification target under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojna (SAUBHAGYA) program at the earliest.

Nitin is a staff reporter at Mercomindia.com and writes on renewable energy and related sectors. Prior to Mercom, Nitin has worked for CNN IBN, India News, Agricultural Spectrum and Bureaucracy Today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University and Master’s degree in International Relations from Jindal School of International Affairs. More articles from Nitin Kabeer